Islanders update: Matt Martin in for Game 3 vs. Hurricanes

Islanders Matt Martin
(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

ELMONT, N.Y. — Left winger Matt Martin will play in Game 3 of the New York Islanders’ first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night at UBS Arena. 

The veteran fourth-liner had missed Wednesday’s practice and was labeled day-to-day because of maintenance by head coach Patrick Roy, adding that he was a game-time decision and that they would “see after warmups,” ahead of Game 3.

Martin took warmups in his usual spot alongside Kyle MacLean and Cal Clutterbuck.

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In his absence during practice stepped Ruslan Iskhakov, a 23-year-old rookie who made his NHL debut just one week ago in the Islanders’ regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He recorded one assist in 14:11 of ice time and was slated to be Martin’s replacement if he was unable to go on Thursday night.

Ruslan Iskhakov Islanders
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Moscow native, who stands at just 5-foot-7, was a second-round pick of the Islanders in 2018. After stints with UConn and in Europe, he has spent the past two seasons with the team’s minor-league affiliate (AHL) in Bridgeport. He recorded 18 goals this season and was selected to the AHL All-Star Game.

“They’re different players,” Roy began. “One is an experienced guy, he plays the position well, understands the game. He’s an important piece of our team. The other one is a rookie with a lot of speed, a lot of energy. A player who doesn’t know he’s small, probably like a lot of their guys.

“Before, it was tougher for smaller players. Now, smaller players have a place in the league because of their speed, because of their skill. So if he plays, I’ll be curious to see how he does just like everyone else”

Of currently active skaters, Martin has played the most postseason games with the Islanders. Game 3 will be his 82nd, which ranks 16th in franchise history passing Lorne Henning and Dave Langevin. 

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